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Volterra’s Roman trail

  • Volterra’s Roman trail

    Any walk through Volterra reveals Roman remains, the Etruscan city the Romans adapted to their tastes. Etruscan Velathri became Volterrae, an important Roman municipality when Rome annexed Etruria in 351 BC. The city followed the new faith of Christianity, and at the Fall of the Roman Empire in 476 AD was already the centre of a large diocese. Under Roman rule, Etruscan and Latin languages co-existed but Etruscan culture was crushed. The Etruscan role degenerated into the provision of soothsayers, musicians, dancers and fighters for Rome.

    The Romans’ most significant legacy, apart from the roads, is the template they laid down for the classic town plan, with the forum – evolving into the piazza – the focal point. Yet Volterra’s Etruscan heritage was often built upon by the Romans, including in the so-called Etruscan Arch, the vaulted Porta all’Arco Etrusco, with its Roman vaulting. On the north side of town, just below the city walls, lies the excav¬ated Roman Theatre, which was partly destroyed in medieval times in order to consolidate the city fortifications.  This Teatro Romano, which dates from the 1st-century BC, was founded by two Roman Consuls. Adjoining the Roman theatre are the impressive remains of a 3rd-century Roman Bathhouse, built after the Roman Theatre had been abandoned. There’s a good view of the theatre from via Lungo Le Mura del Mandorlo.

    Address: Roman Theatre (Teatro Romano), Via Francesco Ferrucci, Volterra
    Web: www.volterratur.it

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